Marist High School senior Jake Mozdzen was one of only eight students accepted to the University of Chicago’s researcHStart program, which welcomes high school students from the Chicago and Urbana-Champaign areas to explore exciting careers in cancer research. He will work at the University this summer in a cancer research lab.
Participants in the program work full-time in the laboratories of established cancer researchers, gaining hands-on experience in areas at the forefront of the field: cancer immunology, pharmacogenomics of anticancer agents, bioengineering, experimental cancer therapeutics, cancer disparities, and more. Rigorous research training is complemented by career development and skill-building workshops, a cancer-based faculty lecture series, and a network of faculty and peer mentors dedicated to students’ success. The program culminates in a research symposium for family, friends, and members of the scientific community. Participants receive a taxable stipend of $2,000.
Mozdzen was encouraged to apply by English teacher and Explore program coordinator Kathleen McArdle. “I thought the program was a great way for me to find out whether I was interested in a life of research, moreover, if I was really interested in the medical field,” Mozdzen explained. He completed an online application and in-person interview before being accepted to the program.
While at Marist Mozdzen has been highly successful and involved. Along with a heavy Advanced Placement courseload, he has been a member of the school’s band, math team, and academic team. He is also a regular volunteer at Palos Community Hospital. He is considering the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Loyola University and the University of Notre Dame for next fall. He plans on majoring in chemistry or chemical engineering.
Mozdzen follows in the footsteps of 2017 Marist graduate Becca Valek who also completed the program at the University of Chicago before attending Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn. Marist’s Explore program provides insight for students about career paths through a speaker series, corporate visits, and by connecting students to internship and research opportunities.